Hai Lam: leading video gamer forced to retire after injury

Wrist injury is similar to those that can also end careers for tennis and golf players

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 30 April 2015 20:47 BST
Hai Lam, seen on the far left, with the rest of gaming team Cloud9
Hai Lam, seen on the far left, with the rest of gaming team Cloud9 (Getty Images)

A star competitive video gamer is being forced to leave the sport because of a wrist injury, at the age of 22.

Hai Lam is the captain of Cloud9, said to be among the best US teams at one of the biggest online games in the world, League of Legends. But he has said that he is unable to play any more in part because of a sustained injury in his wrist.

The injury, which seems to be a kind of tendonitis, appears to have been caused by the repetitive strain of online game playing. As e-sports get more and more big and expensive, competitors are pushing themselves harder, and are beginning to sustain the kinds of career-ruining injuries that plague those in other sports.

“My wrist injury is something that I simply cannot ignore,” Lam wrote in a note announcing his departure. “It limits my ability to play as much as I need to and my ability to improve.

“I cannot keep up with the amount of Solo Queue games my teammates play and it’s not fair to them. At best, my wrist injury would have only allowed me to play for another split and that wasn’t even certain.”

Lam has earned over $80,000 from his last four years in gaming, according to the site E-Sports Earnings.

As well as the problems with his injuries, Lam said that team morale had taken a hit after recent competitions and that he thought the team could be revived with the addition of new personnel. Lam was involved in the founding of the team and gave it its name.

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